Wednesday 20 August 2008

10th August 08

Date: 10 – 15th August 08
Location: Tofo, Inhambane, Mozambique
Weather: All of the 5 days covered have been stunning weather with sunshine and light winds, temperatures varying between 28 and 32°c
Status: doing what I do best, enjoying the pleasures of the ocean and weather.

Arrived in the familiar beachside town of Tofo, a location I’d stayed at before and in the eight years its changed a whole load, our entrance to the market area was unfortunately greeted by about 10 sellers all thrusting their wares through the window of the truck! This place has become a tourist destination for the hordes of South African holiday makers who plague this part of the coast during holiday season….luckily we’d arrived well outside of this time!!!!

We drove down the road which has the main camping areas including Fatima’s, Dino’s and Bamboozi’s and were greeted by a wall of thick white smoke billowing across the road. The marsh area to the west of this spit of land is made up of mud flats into which grow thousands of reeds which were all in full flower and it was these which had somehow been ignited and were furiously burning.

The strong wind was fuelling the fire and it was advancing with speed towards the road where I’d parked and the all of the backpackers. People were standing on the tops of their properties armed with nothing more than hosepipes and buckets damping down the thatched roofs from which all of the buildings are built. I sat in my truck out of the smoke and watched as the main body of the fire swept past 20m away from me! Half an hour later it was gone and all that remained was the smell of charred bush and a few burning trees. Intense!

We stayed at Fatima’s Backpackers for our five day break on the coast to allow my friend Josie to enjoy her time in one place rather than sat in the back of the Colonel, say farewell to Alex after 5 months of enjoying her mad, superb Australian company on the road all the way down from Ghana and to hang around long enough for the Watkins family to join us and to see Bre again.

During our stay there the girls went out on a dive to one of the famous reef sites but came home disappointed so we all signed up for an ocean safari which took us down the coast and slightly offshore to an area where whale sharks are regularly sighted…and we weren’t let down at all!!

We spent four hours motoring between sites and each time the spotter shouted to us all to get into the water as one of these fantastic beasts passed within sight of the boat. We’d all been equipped wetsuits, fins and snorkels and launched ourselves into the warm Indian Ocean diving far below the surface to view these amazing creatures as they effortlessly swam up the coastline. The largest of them was nearly four metres!

Josy, Rach and I hired a paddle ski for the afternoon and as they confidently paddled out into the surf I followed behind them swimming in the warm surf which was awesome for my fitness! We all made it out to the reef break about a km offshore, dived down to the bottom to take some photos and lapped up the warmth of the sun and the water. Then we all tried to get onto the ski and how amusing it was!! Two of us made it on ok but as Josy tried to haul herself out of the water the centre of gravity changed totally and over we all went face first. I paddled them back to the shore and then headed off by myself for another lap of the bay, loving the burning feeling in my shoulders which I haven’t really felt since I stopped swimming before work back in the UK.

We all gave Alex a good send off on the Wednesday night as she was heading back to Ghana via Joburg and Cairo, she was a brilliant person to have on board for such a good part of the trip and will be sorely missed.

I was sorting out the packing of my truck the next day when all of a sudden I was grabbed from behind….I looked down and spotted a pair of shoes I recognised instantly….BRE WAS BACK!!! Huge hugs and snogs followed and it felt like I’d been apart from her for much more than the 2 weeks it had been!

The family had told me they were heading north past Tofo to Vilanculos where I would meet them in a few days time but Bre had sneakily arranged for them to spend sometime with me before they continued on their passage. Flippin awesome!!

End of day location: Tofo, Inhambane, Mozambique
Distance covered: 0kms

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